Posts categorized "Weblogs" Feed

Re-visiting My Newsreaders

This is a follow up to Finding and Managing Stuff, a post  I wrote in January about organizing sources of information.  A friend recently mentioned that she wanted to get started following that advice, but hadn't had time. My suggestion for her is to start with developing a newsreader, and attached to this post is a file that will save her a huge amount of time in getting this started.

Newsreaders are tools where you can follow multiple blogs, news, Twitter feeds etc. in one spot. The technology behind newsreaders is called RSS and the analogy that's often used is newsreaders are like magazines. You can go out to the newsstand and purchase a magazine, but it's much easier to have the magazine come to you via a subscription. Newsreaders allow you to subscribe to a variety of sources of information and then you can access this stuff in one spot. New items pop up in your reader as they are published, too, eliminating the need to manually check web sites to see if there's new content.

Back in 2005, I started using the application called NetNewsWire as my news reader. I still like it as I find it easy to organize subscriptions in this tool, although I do use Google Reader as well as it has some other features.  I haven't fallen in love with Google Reader, but it works well enough, particularly on mobile phones.

Over the course of the past couple of years, I've been relying more and more on Facebook as my de facto newsreader (and Twitter somewhat), and it's become easier to manage with tools such as PostPost. Facebook is a great way to stumble upon news items, but I recently came to the realization that I still have a need to monitor some blogs and news sites a bit more closely. I used to subscribe to everything that came my way, but I'm now thinking that a carefully vetted set of resources would better suit my current research needs.

Thus, I'm returning to my newsreaders and plan to spend more time utilizing them in my work. NetNewsWire will still be a place where I subscribe to everything, but a more vetted set of news sources will be in my Google Reader feed. Over the weekend, I went through my current subscriptions and weeded out defunct blogs etc and created  a streamlined set. I exported it into OMPL format and this file can be imported into any newsreader.

To import the attached OMPL file  into your newsreader, download this file (Download LucyRSS). Then, go to Google Reader, login, and click on the Settings link in the upper right hand corner. Select Reader Settings, Import/Export, and then browse to the downloaded OPML file. Click on the upload button, and you'll be good to go.

The selected feeds in my OPML file are a mix with a strong focus on technology, education, and news. I subscribe to a variety of sources (Delicious, Diigo, Twitter, YouTube,regular web sites) to show how one can follow different types of information. If some of the feeds are not interesting to you, delete them from Google Reader by going to Settings>Subscriptions and editing as needed.

Hope someone out there will find this useful, and let me know if you are able to start using Google Reader now that you have some resources to follow!




Simple Communication Tools

Cross-posted at November Learning.

This is a follow up to my blog post at the end of November urging educators to improve communication with their students and their families. I contend that publishing basic class information gives parents a window into your classroom and helps students get digitally organized. It’s now easier than ever as a plethora of tools exist to help people publish without a lot of technical steps. Creating and maintaining a class web site also does not have to be a time consuming chore.

Now that holidays are over and schools are back in session, perhaps now is a good time to explore a few tool recommendations.  The following are a few that are popular with educators; start playing with one tool that appeals to you and see where it leads!

One method of publishing is through bloggling. Blogs are made up of a series of linear posts.  The following blogging tools share many of the same features which include posting by visiting their website, through mobile devices or by emailing posts. They have design templates which are generally customizable and support the embedding of media such as links, photos, and videos. A few to try are:

Many teachers prefer wikis which are easily editable web pages. Wikis tend to provide more flexibility than blogs in terms of design. Most wiki providers give you a choice of templates and allow for the embedding of widgets which provide additional functionality. For instance, if you are a Google Docs user, you can embed documents in a Wikispaces wiki or you could use Google’s own wiki tool, Google Sites, to do the same thing. While you can usually assign multiple authors to a blog to create individual posts, wikis are better suited for collaborative purposes as you can invite others to edit your entire wiki. A few wiki services to try are:

To see how other teachers are using blogs and wikis, browse through the nominations and winners of the 2010 Edublog Awards and through CASTLE’s list of blogs by discipline and wikis.

Keep in mind that Blogger and Google Sites can be used by themselves or within Google Apps Education Edition if your school has adopted this platform. Wikispaces and PBWorks also offer no cost ad-free wikis to educators and Glogster also has a version for educators. Edublogs is also geared towards school audiences. Education versions of Web 2.0 tools usually give you more security options so that students can use them as well.

Edmodo is another tool worth a look and it defies categorization as a blog or wiki. Designed specifically for schools, Edmodo promotes the concept of micro-blogging and teachers can post easily to their Edmodo space on the web or using a mobile device. Calendars, assignments, links, files, and polls can be shared with students. Groups can be created, and educators can also connect to colleagues.

The selected resources mentioned in this blog post were picked for purely their ease of use and my intention was not to create an overwhelming list that might be interpreted as intimidating. However,  if you are interested in trying additional tools, read on.

Via Twitter, I asked other educators for suggestions of simple to use publishing tools and VoiceThreadAnimoto, Wallwisher, and Audioboowere mentioned. Also, Larry Ferlazzo recommends various tools within his great list of his blog posts geared toward tech novices.

If you have any additional tools or strategies that you recommend, share them in the comments of this blog!


My Edublogger Award Nominations!

Edublogger Awards

A few shout outs to people and resources that I admire!

Best Teacher blog: Dolores Gende

Best individual blog:  Always Learning

Best individual tweeter: Karen Blumberg

Best group blog: Bridging Differences

Best resource sharing blog: Box of Tricks

Most influential blog post: We Can't Let Teachers Off the Hook

Best teacher blog: Journey in Technology

Best librarian / library blog: Joyce Valenza's Never Ending Search

Best educational tech support blog: Tech Ease

Best elearning / corporate education blog: Search ReSearch

Best educational use of audio:  Lit2Go

Best educational wiki: TeacherWeb2

Best educational podcast: Lab Out Loud

Best educational webinar series: Classroom 2.0 Live

Best educational use of a social networking: New Media Literacies Community

Lifetime achievement: Steve Haragdon


Getting Ready for Changes!

Just thought I'd take a moment to let friends know that major changes are looming on my horizon. After nearly ten years working at the University of Chicago in various capacities, I'm leaving to start my own full-time consultancy. Working at the University of Chicago has been a privilege, and I have learned so much during my years at Lab, UEI and most recently, CEMSE.  I'm excited professionally and personally for all the adventures that await me and my family! 

It's time to now apply my knowledge and experience in new ways and am looking forward to a variety of projects that will let me follow my education passions and at the same time, stay in touch with my current colleagues. I will be continuing to work with CEMSE on various projects, mostly involving the infusion of technology into a science curriculum. Hopefully,  I will be working more directly with teachers and students overall, and I particularly want to focus on helping schools figure out the many pieces of the 21st century skills puzzle. I also plan on developing my interest in helping kids and teachers learn to search more effectively, and want to pursue my growing fascination with all things related to iPhones, iPods and iPads. So many avenues to pursue, so little time!

This summer looks to be a busy one as I jump into this work. First stop will at ISTE 2010 in Denver, which promises to be a whirlwind of activity as usual, and then a trip to visit Judy Beaver's Summer Lab program at the fabled Punahou School in Hawaii, followed by a probable trip to the Building Learning Communities in Boston. Later in the fall, I'll be a featured speaker at Connecticut's ed tech conference, CECA.

Specific projects so far include consulting working for Tiger Logic, a company that produces a very cool search technology called yolink. I'm very excited about this opportunity as I really like the product and the yolink team. yolink really scaffolds search for people and I especially like how search results can be exported to email, Google Docs, Evernote, and Diigo, to name a few tools. It's exciting to be helping a company with this innovative product, and I wouldn't be involved with this kind of venture if I didn't wholeheartedly believe in it. Stay tuned for a lot more about yolink and its role in education!

Additionally, I'm starting to blog at the O'Reilly Radar along with several really smart people who also want to see education evolve. One of these people is journalist Elizabeth Corcoran, who has a vision for helping educators better leverage technology in classrooms. As her project grows, I'll be serving as an adviser. 

Finally, a third leg of my work will involve partnering with the incomparable Steve Hargadon to co-chair an online global education conference, a nice complement my work in the Global Education Collaborative. Details are in the works, and it promises to be a synergistic event that will take place sometime in November. Again, stay tuned for details. 

So that's my story... thanks again to everyone who has supported me along this journey! I can't wait for things to come! 

Friday 5: Special Mystery Guest: ELL

Hi All -

Larry Ferlazzo has put together tremendous resources for teachers and students. He teaches Social Studies and English to English Language Learners and native-English speakers at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, CA.  He was named the Grand Prize Winner of the 2007 International Reading Association Presidential Award For Reading and Technology.  He has a website with over 7,000 categorized links accessible to English Language Learners and younger native English speakers at and a blog ( where he daily shares new content added to the website. A few months ago, I shared his student examples page ( l) with Friday 5 readers; it's helpful because I'm always seeking concrete examples of student technology use. Thanks, Larry, for sharing your expertise with us!

Lucy Gray


1) Oxford University Press -- Student   Sites
Hundreds, and probably thousands, of online   English language development activities for all levels.
2) Peace Corps English Teaching Manuals
I think the teaching manuals the Peace Corps   has developed for teaching English as a second language are extraordinarily   helpful to teachers.
3) Starfall
The best online site to teach reading to   beginning English Language Learners or young native speakers to read..
4) Dvolver Moviemaker
A great site for students to develop their   writing skills in a fun and creative way by creating simple movies.
5) Hello World English
A site for beginning English Language Learners   to learn basic "survival" English.
6) English 180
A very good site for both Beginning and   Intermediate English Language Learners with graduated lessons.
7) English Interactive
Another excellent site for both Beginning and   Intermediate English Language Learners with exercises at various levels.
  You can subscribe to the Friday 5 at or read it in my blog:

The Global Education Collaborative

Link: The Global Education Collaborative.

Excuse the multiple cross-postings on various listservs etc....

Please consider joining a Ning community on global education:

At the National Educational Computing Conference to be held in Atlanta, Georgia this June, fellow Apple Distinguished Educator Julene Reed and I will be hosting a workshop on global collaboration. I plan on utilizing a variety of tools and resources throughout this hands-on class, including Ning, a service that allows one to establish a custom social networking site. I am hoping to seed this site with people and content in preparation for this workshop, and I would like to invite anyone to jump in and participate.

I've made a few prior attempts at creating an online meeting space for those interested in global collaboration which included the establishment of a .Mac group and a blog. While I still plan on posting to these resources, I think this environment might be more inviting because it allows for the posting of photos, videos, and RSS feeds. Users can make their own custom personal pages, contribute to discussion forums, network with other like-minded individuals, and comment on these features. I've been inspired by the success of Steve Hargadon's Classroom 2.0 and School 2.0 Ning communities, particularly by the forum conversations in the Classroom 2.0 one.

I also hope that this will also serve as a hub for anyone who will be presenting at conferences on various global education topics. Please consider uploading any relevant files including presentation slides. You can upload slides to sites such as SlideShare and Scribd, which I think, will give you the html code to embed videos in a Ning community. If you need help with any of this, just let me know.. it's pretty easy. Of course, you can probably also save slideshows as Quicktime files and upload them directly, too.

Please let me know if you have any questions...

Continue reading "The Global Education Collaborative" »

Friday 5: Green Friday

Everywhere you turn, green is in the limelight. Thomas Friedman, of the New York Times and A World is Flat fame, has authored a new green article for the NYT Sunday Magazine, Vanity Fair has devoted its entire April issue to environmental topics, and my local papers, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, both have turned out several articles that have caught my attention. Is this a fad or are people really getting serious about our environment? Only time will tell, but I am certainly more interested in learning about what I can personally do to make this world a better place. This week's list consists of sites that I've found in my online explorations... a little late for Earth Day, but I suppose every day is Earth Day now.

Take care,

Lucy Gray


1. The Power of Green | Thomas L. Friedman | New York Times
(may have to register to read this article)

2. Living the Dream | Chicago Sun-Times
The Sun-Times is running a series on the green movement; check out this article and others to discover a variety of resources.

3. Making It a Green Sweep This Spring | Chicago Tribune

4. The Green Guide

5. Monterey Bay Aquarium: Seafood Watch Program - A Consumer's Guide to Sustainable Seafood.

6. Treehugger

7. North American Association for Environmental Education: Student Programs
    and Choice Picks for Teachers

8. EEK! Environmental Education for Kids

9. National Environmental Education Week

10. The EnviroLink Network

11. Sustainlane

12. Grist: Environmental News and Humor

Let’s make it a Good Friday for the blogging world : Thoughts From A Technospud

Link:  Let’s make it a Good Friday for the blogging world : Thoughts From A Technospud.

In response to a recent cyberbullying incident that's garnered a huge amount of attention, Jennifer Wagner of the Thoughts from  a Technospud blog has made a request of the those who blog. She is encouraging fellow bloggers to take a moment today to recognize other bloggers who have been supportive in the blogosphere. I'm not sure if I am supposed to comment in the blogs of these people, or comment in a post on my own blog, so I am going with the latter option and tagging it "cybercompliment". Here are the people I'd like to thank:

1) A marketing person for this landscaping company. I can't remember the marketing person's name, but she wrote me after reading a post I had written about Margate Park. Here is the link I actually referenced in this post that's now in a password protected blog. Anyway, this was the first time I realized that people really do indeed read and respond to blogs. Blogs as a way to connect with others was completely foreign to me.

2) Garr Reynolds of Presentation Zen fame. He noticed a post I had written about a student presenting at the Apple Store and he incorporated the story into his own post. I had read Garr's stuff previously, so when I received an email from him regarding Sam, I was blown away. What was this business professor with a popular blog in Japan doing contacting me?!?!?!? Again, the reach of the blogosphere was evident and it made me ponder how the Internet has forever changed our ability to connect, network, and derive meaning from others around the world.

3) Tim Lauer and others who held a blogging workshop at NECC 2004 in New Orleans. This was really the first time I explored the concept of blogs.  Here's a post from Anne Davis's blog about that event.

Thanks again, everyone!

The Machine’s New Clothes

Link: The Machine’s New Clothes.

Do me and my alderman a favor and click on this article several times. He is running for election against a woman whose supporters are suspected of stealing multiple campaign signs in my neighborhood. One campaign worker even threatened my neighbor, and someone cut down a sanctioned sign from a nearby restaurant and replaced it with the opposition's sign, even though the restaurant was not consulted and is clearly supporting the incumbent. Supporters have even turned up on neighborhood Yahoo groups, spewing anonymous untruths. It's really disheartening to see Chicago style politics.

Lucy's NICE Mini-Conference Resources

NICE Homepage

PDFs of My Two Presos:

Apple Global Awareness:

Download global_awareness.pdf


Download google.pdf

Essential Links:

Google For Educators
Rethink.Global Awareness

Document containing most links mentioned in both presentations: 

Download NICElinks.doc

Please email me if you have any questions!

Blogging clicks with educators | Chicago Tribune

Blogging clicks with educators | Chicago Tribune

My husband just tossed this article to me and a couple things jump out. First, it would have been helpful if the Trib had posted links to the teacher and admin blogs listed. Even their online version does not contain that info. Secondly, there are no quotes from students on what they think. Thirdly, there is no mention of any local or nationally known edublogers that I am aware of. And finally, there is absolutely NO mention of any schools trying to block blogs. I know this is happening in Illinois because several teachers joined the Illinois Technology Conference for Educators blog (which I established)last year using their home computers because they could not join while at school as their districts banned Blogger, the service behind the ILTCE blog. It seems to me that this piece could have used some more authority, and it is a shame that it gives such a cursory view of blogs in classrooms. There is so much more to this phenomenon. I'm wondering if it was a slow news day.

Slideshow Using ImageShack

Go to ImageShack® to Create your own Slideshow
Just saw an example of a slideshow created with ImageShack on a student blog linked from ADE Mike Searson's iStory tour blog. Very cool! I grabbed these photos directly from my Flickr account to create this slideshow.  My after school class is starting a wiki, and I'm wondering if we could embed a slideshow like this in Wikispaces. I'm guessing the answer is yes...

Global Education Resources

Link: Global Education Resources.

I'm starting to prepare for a slew of presentations in upcoming months on the ADE global awareness project and have decided to move the .Mac discussion group that I started to a Blogger blog format. The .Mac group format didn't really lend itself to people join in and starting meaningful conversations, although a few people did share some very cool links to projects and resources. I am hoping this new blog will also serve as a repository for any global ed resources as I know several other ADEs will be giving presentations at NECC as well.

So if you'd like to contribute and share stories, resources, projects, etc., shoot me an email and I'll send you an invitation to join. You can reach me at or

Room 132 » Room 132: Archived

Link: Room 132 » Room 132: Archived.

I wondered this fall why there was no activity coming from this vlog's feed. I don't know how I missed this as the announcement was posted October 26, 2006, but my favorite educational vlogger is no longer a regular classroom teacher. I first discovered Bre Pettis when researching video blogging for a Friday 5 edition last year.... I believe I found his stuff via a Yahoo group on vlogging. Anyway, I completely cracked up at his videos depicting events in his classroom; he clearly made learning fun for his students. He did a huge service for parents who deserve a glimpse into the learning lives of their children and for teachers looking for new ideas. Fortunately, the best of Bre has been archived here ( I like Too Much Sugar and In the Future) and he now works for Make magazine. Check out his video podcast on bridge building! If you haven't checked out Make before, you must... the print version and the web site are very interesting!

Top 100 Education Blogs | OEDb

Link: Top 100 Education Blogs | OEDb.

Wowie zowie! I am so flattered! A Teacher's Life and the Infinite Thinking Machine have both been listed in a top 100 edublog list published by Online Education Database. Regardless my affiliations, the other 98 blogs look like potential additions to my news aggregator and I am happy to discover some new reading material. If you visited this list, make sure you look at OEDb's library of articles, too.


Check out my colleague Lisa Harrison's blog! Lisa teaches second grade at Lab, and she's put together a lovely resource that benefits other teachers as well as the families in her class.

Primary teachers might want to check out Lisa's posts on her whooping crane project.  Lisa and her assistant teacher even dressed like cranes for Halloween!

Lisa also has some suggestions to add to my previous post. She recommends Make A Flake and , Mr. Picassohead.

I look forward to following the exploits of Lisa and her students via this blog!

I Am A Geek

Okay, I was going to post something about this in the Infinite Thinking Machine, but some people might find this overwhelming.

I love RSS. I love my newsreader NetNewsWire. I subscribe to feeds from a gazillion sites. I do not read them every day, but the headlines from these feeds are in NetNewWire just waiting for me if I have time. It is simply the BEST way to keep current in my field.

So, I just spent time cleaning up my newsreader, put new feeds into folders and deleting ones that are dead or don't seem to interest me much anymore. Being the generous person I am, I have put them into an .opml file so that others can see what an RSS nut I have become. So if you're looking for a little light reading, check out my feeds.

Download lucysfeeds1026.opml

You need to download this file and import it into the newsreader of your choice. I recommend Bloglines or Google Reader. It's interesting to use Bloglines for reading feeds because you can see how many others have subscribed to a particular feed. I like seeing what others are reading as I think it's a picture of a person's mindset. Send me your OPML file if you feel like sharing!

Infinite Thinking Machine

Link: Infinite Thinking Machine.

I think I mentioned here that I am blogging for another site called the Infinite Thinking Machine. If not... here's another plug! Sponsored by Google and produced by WestEd, seven educators from the blogosphere are contributing their thoughts to this space. The real star of this blog, though, is the internet t.v show produced by Chris Walsh. Check out this week's episode... I think it's great for teachers AND kids alike. I know my students are jazzed about new things such as wikis that I've introduced in class lately, and I think this show will appeal to them.

tags technorati :

iThought: Help Westley Blog

Link: iThought.

I have no idea if anyone reads this, but if anyone is out there... consider helping my fellow ADE colleague and friend, Westley Field. He's new to the blogosphere and has lots of questions about blogging and Web 2.0 stuff in general. So visit a blog from Down Under, and leave a helpful comment or two for Westley. I am going to refer him to some resources, but I am sure that there others out there who know more. Thanks!

By the way, Westley is the guy on the right in this picture!


TeachersFirst: Gated Blogs for the Classroom

Link: TeachersFirst: Gated Blogs for the Classroom.

TeachersFirst publishes a helpful weekly enewsletter and I noticed a new feature today on classroom uses of blogging. This article is essentially a basic tutorial on how to get started with blogs in schools. Design wise, I like that as you proceed through the various pages, you can opt out at any time to start a blog if you think you get the basic concepts. Lots of examples are provided and you can nominate classroom blogs for their TeachersFirst Class Blog award.

I also noticed today that an RSS feed is available on their home page. And, the editor of TeachersFirst has a blog as well. I can now keep track of new additions to this site through my newsreader.

Cool Cat Teacher Blog: My top 10 eduposts of 2005-2006

Link: Cool Cat Teacher Blog: My top 10 eduposts of 2005-2006.

My computer science department colleague, Baker Franke, recommended the Cool Cat Teacher blog to me a few months ago because he thought the Cool Cat author and I are two peas in a pod. I haven't had much time to delve into it, but I have noticed that people are following her Top 10 eduposts initiative, so I thought I'd add something and then morph it a bit.

I haven't been blogging enough or indepth enough to generate a tremendous amount of traffic here, and that hasn't been really my main intention. I started out just wanting to document thoughts and cool things for future reference. If someone else got something out of what I've posted, fabulous... otherwise, I'm quite content just talking to myself in cyberspace.

So, I am just going to post links to my personal favorites in no particular order from within my blog:

1) Sam at the Apple Store
This post morphed into something bigger... see #2.

2) Sam at the Apple Store Revisited

Not only did Garr Reynolds of Presentation Zen blog about the first post, but Susan Patrick, president and CEO of NACOL, heard about Sam and invited him to speak at a distance learning conference in Chicago!

3) NSBA TLN Executive Briefing

I'm selecting this post just because my students and I had so much fun at this event! I realized how lucky am I to work with these students.

4) Google Earth and Earthquakes

I tried to duplicate an activity from the NSBA event cited in #3 and this is what I came up with. I am in love with Google Earth!

5) Our Professional Development Day

Again, this post reminds me of how lucky I am to be working where I do.

6 ) Apple Store Field Trip

One benefit from teaching classes at National Louis University is that it's conveniently located down the street from the Michigan Avenue Apple Store. It's a great place for impromptu field trips!

7) NLU Class Visit the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus

8) Chicago Matters

The student I blogged about here was valdectorian of his high school class and is entering a top west coast school next fall. Hooray for him... it warms my heart that he is doing so well in life.

9) Friday 5: Global Awareness

I post links from a listserv I run and this is one of favorite collections.

10) Video Blog Sample

This needs no explanation as to why I like this post!

Next... I am going to list my top 10 favorite posts from other people's blogs!

tags technorati :

Video Blog Sample

I'm just learning about video blogging and I thought I'd put up a sample.

We're transitioning my three year old son from a crib to a big boy bed. Yesterday, I had him jump in his crib as we said good bye to it and he added his own vocals. He's quite a character!

Sam at the Apple Store Revisited

I blogged recently about a student and his presentation at the Apple Store last fall. I had nothing to do with Sam's actual presentation, but I did attend and was impressed with his skill set. Garr Reynolds of Presentation Zen noticed  and used Sam's picture as well as some comments from me in his most recent blog post.

I appreciate his thoughtful comments for two reasons. First, his message about "the beginner's mind" is important. I like the idea of remaining unjaded and this applies to whatever field one has chosen. If one is  burdened by past negative experiences, of course one will never be able to be innovative. At any rate, I think I need to learn more about Zen philosophy. I'm liking what I am hearing!

Secondly, as further proof that this really is indeed a small world, I was surprised to receive Garr's email. I had been reading his blog for a number of months and had it listed in my blogroll, but I had never really associated a person's name with Presentation Zen. I had even used one his posts comparing Steve Job's and Bill Gates in a sixth grade class when we discussed presentation design. So when I saw his email, it took a few moments for me to register that he was the author of this fabulous blog I had been reading.  I think it is interesting how blogging can connect people around the world... a blog is not just a dumbed down way to publish a web page. Along with tags and search engines like Technorati, blogs give people a voice in this world that previously was only relegated to "experts" via traditional media. It really is a very exciting time in technology because of this, and I can't wait for more people out there to grasp the concepts of networking, collaboration, and sharing over the internet using emerging technologies.

Anyway, thank you, Garr, and I'm sure Sam will be over the moon with your description of him as "almost Steve-Jobs like"! He's a great kid and I'm looking forward to working more with him as he progresses through our middle school.

Why I Blog and Why I Am Not Podcasting

I've been thinking this weekend about why I've started blogging more and podcasting less. And I thought I'd post my reasons here.

First and foremost... I started out keeping a blog to document things I wanted to remember. I have one blog where I write about things pertaining to my kids. It's an quick and easy way to jot done observations, funny things that they have said, etc. I have not password protected it, but I don't make it particularly public. It's mostly for me. When I started this, I naively didn't realize how public blogs are until a marketing director for a public space landscaping company found one of my posts and called me. She planned to use my written observations about a neat park in Chicago in one of her trade publications.

Another blog I started and I haven't really been contributing much to is one that documents the fun things I do with my family. We love to visit kid friendly places, and I thought a travel blog for families might be helpful to others. Which leds me to my second reason for blogging... not only do I want to remember things I've done, but I believe in the power of passing helpful information along. I have learned so much from interactions over the Internet and I think contributing the ever growing body of content out there is a service to everyone.

In addition to these blogs and my professional one (this one), I made one that has not taken off at all. I'm part of a small study group at work that is supposed to take a look at all things educationally innovative. Since we have found it virtually impossible to meet in person, I thought a blog might be a way we could interact on our own time. Frankly, I haven't put much effort into it, and I think the learning curve might be too much for some members of this group.

And.... my latest blog (TypePad Pro accounts let you make multiple blogs with multiple authors btw) is for my email friends. When my now 7 year old daughter was an infant, I joined a parenting group online and became virtual friends with a small group of women scattered about the country. I've since left AOL, but I still email regularly with these incredibly supportive group and I've even met three of them in person. We're always making recommendations to each other for toys, books, activities, etc. and I thought again that a blog might make a good forum for documenting all the wisdom we've floated around over the years. We've used a bit, but again, I think for most of my friends, it's a bit of a hassle.

I did three podcasts to support a listserv that I manage, and while I enjoyed the process of creating one, I lost motivation to create more as I found myself not particularly enjoying listening to myself talk. It was painful to hear the reality of my voice. Until doing this, I hadn't really developed an appreciation for broadcasters and the probable training they go through in order to sound as professional as they do.  Because of time constraints and because I am not sure if my Friday 5 podcasts were particularly compelling, I decided to take a break from this until I could find better reasons to publish audio files. I'd really love to be able to interview people rather than hear myself talking constantly.

The bottom line with my blogging and podcasting efforts is that I have not done these things to be necessarily self-promotional. I've created blogs and podcasts to explore new technologies, to share information, and to document items important to me. I've only been dabbling in web 2.0 stuff for about a year now, and I've been amazed by how I can glean quality info and learn from others. That's the real power behind all of this and that's why I am into blogging now.

On that note.... I looked at a blog this week and would like to share it with others. I found Creating Passionate Users via the 9 Rules Network. 9 Rules is a great site to browse as they provide an umbrella for weblogs of high caliber. Most are also very well designed, too.

Anyway, three posts really struck me in the Creating Passtionate Users blog. I think they are essential readings for teachers. In chronological order:

1) Ten Tips for New Trainers/Teachers

2) 2006 Hopes/Predictions EQ

Can I just say AMEN to all of this? I especially agree with the comments about meaness and about helping to educate others via blogging. Exactly my sentiments. I will revisit this post often to remind myself of these principles.

3) Crash Course in Learning Summary  (I particularly love the design of this post... great example of how to use graphics effectively in a blog post. )

I'm going to end this long ramble with a 2006 blog resolution for myself... and that will be to add more of my own thoughts and ideas to this blog. Instead of just posting links, perhaps I can elaborate and build on what I find.

Apple of My Eye #3

Stuff I am looking at this week:

2) From Library Stuff - Some Stuff I Found Today

- More social networking tools... will it ever end?

3) From TED Blog - Meanwhile in Africa...

- Here is a moving photojournalism piece on the crisis in Africa. The photos are accompanied by an Alicia Keyes and Bono remake of the Peter Gabriel song, Don't Give Up. The song is available for download in iTunes.

4) From Apple Matters - A Dozen Apple Gems Unearthed in 2005

5) From Tim Lauer - SynchroEdit

-This app seems to be sort of a cross between Writely and SubEthaEdit. Looks like it's worth checking out.

Apple of My Eye #2

Items that have caught my attention recently:

Blogger Buzz: Play Blogpoly

- A great graphic with links to the major players in blogging

Om Malik on Broadband: Tagworld Takes on MySpace

- MySpace is getting a lot of press these days.

2 Cents Worth: We Are Afraid

- Another post on social networking sites

Slashdot: The Podjacker Threat

-How easy is it for someone to really do this?!?! This article clearly explains this phenomenon and has useful advice for avoiding podjacking.

Education at the Brink: Gimmicky Solutions Are No Solutions at All

- This article hit home for me as I'm reading Teachers Have It Easy by Dave Eggers et al. I highly recommend this thoughtful book that documents the realities of the teaching profession. Eggers went to my high school, btw, and I loved his description of our hometown in A Heart Breaking Work of Staggering Genius. I thought I was alone in my feelings about it!

Apple Matters: Should You Buy a Mac Now?

-My almost 5 year old G4 crashed and almost died, but it looks like I'm due for a new desktop. This article may help me decide when I will purchase a new computer. I really, really want a new G5 iMac.

Lifehacker: Tips for Blog Reading

KrazyDad: Wacky Collages

- I had totally forgetten about these wacky packs of gums and the accompanying cartoons!

I had also wanted to post two links from Will Richardson's Weblogged, but the site seems to be down today. One post is entitled EdBlogger Awards 2005, which is a useful resource for those of us looking for good blogs to read. The second is entitled Wikipedia Woes.

Blog gets 3 students in trouble

Link: Blog gets 3 students in trouble .

I think stories such as this are becoming commonplace. I personally think the school did the right thing, especially since the posts involved were threatening. And, let's remember here that junior high students actually were responsible for these threats. While it is a different incident than the one cited at Payton, I think that the Payton student should have been suspended as well, but perhaps there were legal reasons why that was not possible. I would think that the Payton student received ostracization from from his or her peers for publishing racist views, which might be considered punishment in itself. Another thought on this... the student complaining about blogs being monitored is really naive and uninformed about how blogs work. The internet is not really a repository for all things private... if you want a private diary, keep a running log in Word on your own computer! It's another lesson in how your web presence can affect you and it seems that many teenagers don't get that your web presence is part of your overall reputation.

Apple of My Eye #1

NetNewsWire is my RSS feed aggregator of choice. I recently starting using its flagging feature. While waiting in a doctor's office recently, I had no internet connection.... but I could still browse my previously downloaded news items. If these items contained images, though, I could not see those without being connected to the Internet. Anyway, I used this quiet time to quickly scan through my items and flagged ones that I want to revisit.

I think I am going to do this on a regular basis, and then post a few of my more interesting findings in this blog ala this post from This Week in Education . My list, however, will consist of more technology and education technology related items.

So here's what caught my eye this week:

When Teachers Don't Get it: Myths, Misconceptions, and other Taradiddle Jim Holland, TechLearning

I must add that it's very annoying to have to log in to sites in order to read articles. Both the NYT and TechLearning require signing into their sites.

Password Safety, Google Style Winn Schwartau, Security Awareness for Ma, Pa, and the Corporate Clueless blog - Build and Share Google Maps Google Maps Mania blog

PowerPoint Presentation Tip Roundup Lifehacker blog

Get RSS Alerts Via IM Lifehacker blog

Current Reading Will Dix, Life as a College Counselor blog

9rules Round Three John Zeratsky

Feel free to comment on the above finds!



I've been looking a bit more closely at blogging and all that it entails. I'm especially interested in life beyond Blogger and how people create and maintain well designed and interactive weblogs. This site has come to my attention as one way of increasing web traffic for a blog, so I'm going to give it a try.

Web Sites, Blogs Can Boost Your Career - Yahoo! News

If you do a Google search for the woman's web portfolio mentioned in this article, it pops right up. I thought her site had a nice design to it, and it looks like it's done by a professional company. There are dozens of ways to do something similar, probably without spending a ton on a professional service.

Anyway, I don't think the content of this article involves rocket science. Most people in my field have already realized that having a "web prescence" is important professionally.

I think the next issue regarding personal information online is going to be how to remove yourself from certain situations that may involve details being online. Heck, it seems everyone is googling each other for more info! How much info is enough? And is should everyone be privy to all this information?

Web Sites, Blogs Can Boost Your Career - Yahoo! News

Playing with Blogger

I edited this Blog's template by pasting in the HTML code that will allow readers to join my Friday 5 listserv. The Friday 5 is a list of five thematically related web sites sent out to teachers on a weekly basis. Look on the left sidebar of this blog if you're interested in joining.

I'm annoyed right now because somehow my personal blog has disappeared from my Blogger "dashboard". I don't recall deleting it, and I can't imagine that I'd do this by mistake. I wrote customer service about this... at least this professional blog hasn't poofed!